George H. Dunklin Jr. Bayou Meto WMA
Counties: Arkansas, Jefferson
- 2019-20 Waterfowl
- It is unlawful to use any device that simulates wing movement or movement of any kind through electrical or mechanical means, except traditional jerk strings.
- Waterfowl hunters may not possess shotgun shells containing shot larger than No. 2 and may possess no more than 15 shells unless hunters are in camping, parking or boat-launching areas or during the Special Youth Waterfowl Hunt.
- Nonresidents need a 5-day Nonresident WMA Waterfowl Hunting Permit (NW5) to hunt waterfowl on this WMA. The permit costs $30.50 and is valid only Nov. 23-Dec.2, Dec. 27-Jan. 5 and Jan. 22-Jan. 31.
- See Notes section for Access regulations.
- 2020-21 Closed Seasons
- 2020-21 Crow
Sept. 1, 2020-Feb. 21, 2021. Open Thursdays through Mondays. No limit.
- 2020-21 Deer
Deer Archery: Sept. 26, 2020-Feb. 28, 2021
Deer Muzzleloader (permit hunt): Oct. 17-21, 2020
Deer Modern Gun (special youth hunt): Nov. 7-8, 2020
Deer Modern Gun (permit hunt): Nov. 14-18, 2020
WMA Deer Bag Limit: Four deer, no more than two bucks, which may include:
- Two bucks with archery,
- Four does with archery,
- One buck and two does with muzzleloader permit,
- One buck and two does with modern gun permit,
- Limit during the modern gun youth hunt is one buck (no antler restrictions), two does,
- A WMA Deer Hunt Permit is required to hunt deer with firearms on this WMA. Click here for details.
- Legal bucks must have antlers with 15-inch inside spread or 18-inch main beam.
- No dogs.
- 2020-21 Quail
Nov. 1, 2020-Feb. 7, 2021. Daily limit - 6, possession limit -12. Bird dogs allowed.
- 2020-21 Rabbit
Sept. 1, 2020-Feb. 28, 2021. Daily limit - 8, possession limit - 16. Dogs allowed except during firearms deer hunts.
- 2020-21 Squirrel
May 15, 2020-Feb. 28, 2021. Dogs allowed except during firearms deer hunts. Daily limit - 12, possession limit - 48.
- 2021 Turkey
Youth Hunt: April 10-11, 2021. One legal turkey.
Firearms Hunt: April 19-May 9, 2021. One legal turkey.
- About the Name
The area has several unofficial names, most of which are still in use by the public. The Bayou Meto Public Shooting Area, Wabbaseka Scatters or just the Scatters are names still commonly used to refer to the WMA. The original name was Bayou Meto Game Restoration Project.
Bayou Meto WMA can be reached off U.S. highways 79, 165, 152, 88 and 276. Access to most of the area is by walk-in and boat only. The Government Cypress Tract is walk-in only.
Acquisition began in 1948.
There are 52 primitive camp sites scattered over the entire area. Campsite boundaries are marked with signs.
Bayou Meto is one of the largest state-owned wildlife management areas in the nation, encompassing 33,832 acres in Arkansas and Jefferson counties. The topography is generally flat with little more than an 11-foot change in elevation over the entire area. The area has a north-south elongation, with the southernmost extension of the area separated from the main body by a distance of one mile. Sixteen all-weather (graveled) roads are available, totaling 17.4 miles. In addition, 25 secondary (non-graveled) roads are scattered throughout the area, but are only for AGFC employees conducting management and enforcement work. There are eight permanent streams, totaling 30.5 miles, including Five Forks, Wabbaseka Bayou, Government Cypress Slough, Bear Bayou, Dry Bayou, West Bayou, Cross Bayou, Little Bayou Meto and Big Bayou Meto. Twelve intermediate streams, totaling 23 miles in length, form an extensive drainage network which feeds the major permanent waterways. Seventeen ditches totaling 26 miles contribute to the flooding and drainage. The largest and most significant is the Salt Bayou Ditch which extends 8 miles into the WMA. Six lakes, totaling 1,080 acres, are on the area. Halowell Reservoir is the largest, being 600 acres, followed by Grand Cypress lake (280 acres), Cox Cypress (150 acres) and Wrape Lake (80 acres). About 13,000 acres of Bayou Meto are flooded each fall to attract ducks. Two waterfowl rest areas, Halowell Reservoir and the Wrape Plantation, also attract ducks in fall and winter.
- Hunting Opportunities
Bayou Meto's green-timber duck hunting is some of the best in the state and constitutes the heaviest recreational use on the area. The opening days of the season can be very crowded with 1,500 to 2,000 hunters using the area each day, with the average of 350 hunters daily during the rest of the season. Duck numbers vary from one year to the next depending on the mast crop and water levels. Deer hunting is good also. During the permit gun hunt, it is not unusual for 40 to 60 bucks to be harvested. Squirrel hunting is usually excellent, but populations fluctuate depending on availability of food. Raccoon hunting is good. Dogs are allowed for squirrel, raccoon and rabbit hunting. Turkeys were stocked on the area from 1941-1968. Turkey hunting is fair to good with spring flooding often limiting hunter activity and reproductive success of the birds.
Bayou Meto WMA can be reached from U.S. highways 79, 165, 152, 88 and 276. There are AGFC signs on each highway.
- Management Practices
There are 20 food plots on Bayou Meto WMA. They are managed on a two-year rotation. Openings may be control burned, bush-hogged, disked and/or planted to provide supplemental wildlife foods and nesting and bugging areas for turkeys. Seasonal flooding of bottomland hardwoods offers abundant forage for waterfowl and hunting opportunities.
- Boats with outboard motors larger than 25 horsepower or surface-drive motors of more than 37 horsepower and airboats may not be used.
- No boats allowed on the Government Cypress Walk-in Only Waterfowl Impoundment.
- No boats allowed from 1 p.m.-4 a.m., Nov. 23-Jan. 31.
- Exception 1 - Boats allowed from 1 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., Dec. 7, Jan. 29-31 and Feb. 8.
- Exception 2 - Boats allowed from 1 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. on the following waters:
- Mulberry Access (includes all of Salt Bayou Ditch to the confluence of Little Bayou Meto)
- Buckingham Flats Access (includes Big Bayou Meto)
- Cannon Brake Access to include Little Bayou Meto only within the Cannon Brake Impoundment
- Closed to access (except in designated campsites, parking areas, boat launch ramps and boat staging areas from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., Nov. 23-Jan. 31 and Feb. 8.
- Wrape Plantation Waterfowl Rest Area and Halowell Reservoir are closed to access Nov. 1-Feb. 15.
Bayou Meto WMA is owned by the AGFC with four private in-holdings consisting of 380 acres. The in-holdings are posted against trespassing.
The management goal on Bayou Meto WMA is to offer quality wintering habitat for migrating waterfowl and resident wildlife while allowing opportunity for hunters. The natural woodlands/wetlands complex of the management area provides diverse habitat. Management activities improve the quality of habitat for all wildlife species inhabiting the WMA.
- Restaurants and Other Facilities
Stuttgart is the nearest town offering restaurants and facilities.
Like other bottomland areas in Arkansas, Bayou Meto has its share of mosquitoes and topography capable of disorienting hunters. The use of insect repellent, a compass or GPS and an area map is advised. Submerged stumps and fallen logs can make boating dangerous, so maintaining a safe speed is important.